This week I lost a friend, and the world lost one of God’s favorites: Eugene Peterson. Other blogs and websites are reporting on his achievements as a pastor, professor, and author.  Rather than repeat the many well-deserved eulogies in his honor, I decided to reflect on a few snapshots that show his more human side.

The Message. Eugene first rewrote the book of Galatians for his local church, the genesis of what would become a 12-year-long undertaking to render the original languages of the Bible into modern, colloquial English.  I remember a later weekend when a group of us writers got together to bemoan our plight, gossip about publishers, and share each other’s works in progress.  Eugene had just paraphrased some of the Psalms, his favorite Bible book, and read them to us to great effect.

Over dinner that evening, the writer Harold Fickett said, “Eugene, I think you’ve found your calling.  Stop whatever else you’re doing and paraphrase the entire Bible.”  Eugene stared at him for a moment, as if questioning Harold’s sanity, then flashed his winning smile and gave his patented “Heh, heh” laugh.  To our astonishment (and his), he soon embarked on that herculean effort.

More than a decade later, Eugene called me with a question.  By then The Message was well on its way to selling over twenty million copies.  “Philip, what am I supposed to do with all this money?” he asked.  “I’m a pastor, a college professor.  I’m not used to this stuff.”

Vail.  One of Eugene’s admirers sponsored a gathering of around forty friends at a mountain resort in Colorado and asked me to moderate the weekend.  “We’d like you to respond to some of Eugene’s prepared talks and also interview him.”  Great, I thought, I’ll save up all the questions that befuddle me and let Eugene answer them.

At the first session, I introduced him by mentioning the single fact that impressed me most about Eugene—not his theological acumen, his accomplishments, or his published works.  “Eugene, I heard that when you were a young man, Roger Bannister visited your city shortly after becoming the first human to run a four-minute mile.  Is it true that you ran an exhibition race with him and finished in 4:07?”

Eugene gave his familiar smile and leaned back in his chair.  “Don’t believe everything you hear, Philip,” he said.  “I think my time was more like 4:12.”

As the weekend progressed, I managed to sneak in all of my questions.  Before responding, he would always think for a minute or more in silence.  His most common answer: “I don’t know.”  No one could out-humble Eugene.

Pastor.  As a public speaker, Eugene broke every rule in the book.  His voice was strained and hoarse, somewhat like Bill Clinton’s.  He stood with his feet close together, as though anchored to one spot, slightly rocking back and forth on his toes.  I could hardly believe he grew up in the Pentecostal tradition, this gentle introvert who never raised his voice and made few hand gestures.  Yet when Eugene spoke, people listened.

The median church in the United States—the point at which half the churches are smaller and half are larger— has 75 regular participants on Sunday mornings.   If you take the average church size, including all the megachurches, the average church still has only 186 attenders.  I know many dispirited pastors of those “average” churches who look to Eugene for inspiration: whereas the media-savvy pastors of large churches get the publicity, Eugene showed that “success” in the shepherd role is measured more by faithfulness than by glitz and glamour.  His life, mostly spent out of the limelight, could be summarized in one of his book titles, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

Tucked away in a remote setting in Montana, Eugene had an amazing naivete about the surrounding culture of celebrity and entertainment.  When someone told him that Bono of the band U2 wanted to visit him, he asked, “And who is he?” On the day Princess Diana died, Eugene couldn’t understand all the fuss because he had never heard of her.  He was far more interested in another person who died that same week: Mother Teresa.

Humor.  Eugene taught us about “ordinary” spiritual disciplines such as prayer, staying married, showing up to worship in boring churches, and bearing one another’s burdens in community.  Others are rightly reporting on Eugene’s personal integrity.  Like Britain’s John Stott, Eugene presented an example of a Christian leader who practiced what he preached, a role model sorely needed in a time when the media focus on those who succumb to temptation.

At the same time, Eugene had a wicked sense of humor.  I love the story Eugene tells in his memoir, The Pastor.  Serving under the Presbyterian Church USA, Eugene started a new church in Maryland, which after three years grew to a membership of 200.  As required, every month he submitted a report to the denomination’s headquarters in New York City, consisting of one page of statistics and another page of his personal reflections.  He writes, “After a year or so of doing this without any response…I started to wonder if my denominational superiors were reading past the first page of statistics.  I thought I would test out my suspicion and have a little fun on the side.”

One month he described a long slow slide into depression—sleeping little, working as a robot with no spirit, no zest.  Should he continue in the pastorate?  Could they recommend a counselor?  No response.

The next month he wrote about a drinking problem that was affecting his Sunday preaching.  Where could he get treatment?  Again, no response.

The following month, he reported on an affair with a church member who slept with him in the sanctuary, only to be caught out by women arranging flowers for Sunday worship.  Each month Eugene exercised his storytelling gifts by concocting more elaborate fictions (always with his wife Jan’s cooperation).  He told of spicing up a dull liturgical service with psychedelic mushrooms—could his mentors please advise on whether he should proceed?

After three years, his supervisors invited him to New York for a performance review.  Eugene asked if they had read his reports.  “Oh, but we did,” the committee assured him.  “We read those reports carefully; we take them very seriously.”  Then he mentioned such things as his supposed drinking problem, his sexual adventure, and the use of hallucinogens in the service.

“Their faces were blank, and then confused—followed by a splendid vaudeville slapstick of buck passing and excuse making.  It was a wonderful moment.  I replay the scene in my imagination a couple times a year, the way some people watch old Abbott and Costello movies.”

Home.  I thought I had the ideal location for a writer, beside a mountain stream in the beautiful state of Colorado.  Then I visited Eugene’s home, built in part by his ancestors, situated on a high ledge overlooking a Montana lake.  We stood together outside, breathing in the pure air and the forest scents, drinking in the view.

After a few moments of gazing at this idyllic scene, Eugene told me of one winter when ice was still forming on the lake.  A deer in search of water wandered out too far on the ice and fell through.  He knew that if he tried to help, the deer would panic and swim even farther into the frigid water.  For half an hour he watched as the young doe thrashed around in the water, trying desperately to gain some purchase on the ice shelf, which would always break under her weight.  Finally, against all odds, she somehow hauled herself up on an edge of more solid ice.  She shook herself and stood there for a moment, her sides heaving, then suddenly bounded up the slope toward freedom.

I thought of that scene when I read the Peterson family’s reports of Eugene’s last days.  “He is now in his own bedroom with a spectacular view of Flathead Lake.  He is comfortable and well-cared for.  It appears that he is talking with people that no one else can see.  These, I believe, are not hallucinations; rather, he is being prepared for something too glorious for words.”

Like the deer, Eugene took one last deep breath and bounded away, free at last.  We’ll miss you, dear friend.

Subscribe to Philip Yancey’s blog here:
http://bit.ly/PhilipYanceyBlog

Share this

77 responses to “Farewell, Eugene”

  1. Francisco says:

    Obrigado Ms. Philip Yancey!!!

    Obrigado por homenagear um dos homens mais respeitados aqui no Brasil. Certamente ele está num lugar muito melhor do que outrora. Porém, é importante citarmos aqueles que colaboraram para que o mundo fosse um lugar menos caótico!!!

    De coração, com grande carinho, que Deus o abençõe!!!
    Francisco/Brazilian Christian.

  2. Tim Richards says:

    As a pastor for nearly 40 years I’ve often been amazed by how clearly God sometimes spoke to me and others through The Message. Philip Yancey is perhaps my very favorite author. To hear how Eugene Peterson blessed and encouraged him over the years and to read of the personal humorous moments and his wonderful humility is truly a blessing.
    Thanks for sharing your personal memories and for the humble grace of this incredible servant of God.

  3. Shari Voyda says:

    Thank you Philip for your words regarding this man who changed my relationship with God via his translation of The Message and Eat This Book.

    Thank you also for your transformational words in “Where Is God When it Hurts.”

  4. Jen Gibbs says:

    Thanks Philip for these slices of life that bring us closer to this man whose words are so often quoted and will forever be remembered. Thanks for sharing these with us all.

  5. Mark Fitzgerald says:

    Hi Philip, I enjoy your blog posts each month including this one. Please excuse me for straying off topic but I couldn’t find where else to post this. I have to know: have you heard of Jordan Peterson and what do you think about him?
    Your reply will be gratefully received.

    • Philip Yancey says:

      I have heard of Jordan, but haven’t yet read his 12 Rules, so I don’t yet have an opinion. A few YouTube clips from him have piqued my interest. –Philip

  6. Philip, thank you for this colorful, moving, and funny portrait. The image of the deer leaping up from the lake is a wonderful way to depict Eugene’s departure from this earth to the next life. It reminds me of the time he told one of his publishers that no, they couldn’t change the title he’d chosen, so take it or leave it. (They took it.) The book was based on David’s life and the title was taken from its key scripture, 2 Samuel 22:30–“by my God I can leap over a wall.”

  7. Craig Parker says:

    I work for the Navigators and have often used THE MESSAGE. For many years I led a Navigators ministry at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Sometimes I would gather groups of students and set up “speaker phone interviews” with Christians of note.

    Maybe 12 years ago, after THE MESSAGE had sold millions of copies, I wondered how to contact Eugene Peterson. I was shocked to find his number in, of all places, the Montana phone book. I called him. He answered the phone. I told him that I worked for the Navigators at Dartmouth College. He said, “Uh, uh.”

    I said, “Could I do a speaker phone interview with you with a group of students?!?”

    Very quietly, he replied, “You know, I just don’t think I would like to do something like that. But God bless you.”

    His kindness and restraint impressed me far more than if he had done the interview.

    What a wonderful gift he has given us all. The gift of a godly, caring, and humble life.

    “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

  8. Ron James says:

    Thank you Philip for illuminating the person, Eugene Peterson. As you and many of the comment writers point out he was a unique person who touched millions of people, he knowing only a few of them.
    My daughter and I attended a conference at SPU in Seattle a few years ago where Eugene was the featured speaker. My takeaway moment was during a Q&A session when he was asked what he thought of all the dying churches in the US. His first response got the attention of his audience. He laughed or rather he chuckled. Then he said, “You know there has to be death before there can be resurrection.”
    Eugene Peterson had a strong belief in his Lord, Jesus the Christ. More than that he backed up his belief by following Jesus. His was a life of loving God and loving others. His actions were predicated on that life of love.

  9. Amy Gregg says:

    Thank you for the beautiful tribute to this wise and gentle man of God.

  10. Glynn Erasmus says:

    He was a big inspiration to people around the world, even to down to here at the bottom of Africa, particularly with ‘Run with the horses’, ‘the Message’, and other writings, so it was disappointing when he seemed to abandon orthodoxy with his gay marriage comments. Association with Bono, of the Mr. MacPhisto devil-clown character https://youtu.be/qpcPKATNBso was a misjudgment on his part, both of which, I suppose, could be attributed to the naivete that you mentioned, and advanced age – nobody suggests a ‘Long Obedience in the Same Direction’ is easy.

  11. Kathryn Dietz says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute! I’m glad you captured his spirit (and kindness, and humility). What a lovely man, and how blessed you were to know him! I especially love the ending of your memory — that he was communicating with beings you couldn’t see, and you liken him to the deer. That stays with me! Thank you.

  12. J.Samuel Prem Chandar says:

    Thank for sharing the dismissal of the wonderful Bible teacher. Immediately shocked by knowing it. Because I am so blessed by reading the message Bible and frequently used the scriptures whenever need further clarification and interpretation. I hope to meet him in the heaven with our Lord. Praise God for such godly man among us and now entered into glory. Once thank you Mr. Philip Yancy for sharing the information.

  13. Pat Hale says:

    Thanks, Philip.
    This was a beautiful tribute to your friend.
    Par

  14. Alan Cutter says:

    In 1972, I returned from Vietnam and, while I completed my time in the Navy, lived in Bel Air, MD, attending First Presbyterian Church. In that church, I met an older couple who had a daughter attending graduate school in Delaware. Eventually I met the daughter Ann and we started dating. One of Ann’s friends attended the other Presbyterian church where Gene Peterson was pastor. As time passed, Ann and I attended a few events as guests of Ann’s friend; I also got to know Gene through my pastor who, seeing I was interested in ministry, took me to Presbytery meetings. The relationship with Ann grew in depth and soon we were contemplating marriage, but we had not yet shared that information publically. Then, at the Presbytery meeting when I came under care of Presbytery, which Ann attended, we sat at a dinner table with Gene and a group from his church. Gene introduced us to the people by saying I was the candidate coming under care and blithely added, “This is his fiancé Ann.” After that Ann and I quickly made sure we announced our plans, quietly enjoying the reality that our engagement had been announced at Presbytery before we had a chance to share it with our families and friends ourselves. Over the years, when we have told that story, I would add that those words “his fiancé Ann” were, for me, the high point of that Presbytery meeting.

  15. James Philip Abana says:

    The message become my favorite version of the Bible, I fell in love with it for over a decade, a couple months ago I dedicated it for my personal devotion–feasting on it morning and evening, little did I know that the man behind the great work is about to be called home…

    I will always be grateful for a man like Eugine, and I hope to see him one day face to face and tell him how much he has affected my life.

    Thank you Yancey for telling us more about this hero. I love you too.

  16. Bill Bisschop says:

    Thank You Philip for sharing with Us Your experiences and reflections of Our Dearly departed Brother Eugene, it is a fitting Eulogy to a Life well lived.
    Over the last few years, My Sunday mornings have been spent first reading and then studying/reflecting on Eugene`s “The Pastor”, and like You I have spent many a time laughing at Eugene`s unique humor and ability to get and maintain My attention!
    To Me, beyond the humor, these have been “oasis” moments of honesty, laced with a deep integrity to pursue the Truth of God in all areas of Life.

  17. Sue says:

    Thank you Philip for how you chose to speak about Eugene Peterson with such an intimate account of your times with him. I just knew “of him” but feel like I actually now know about this incredibly humble person who will continue to have far reaching impact in the lives of so many, including mine.
    I just knew of The Message but plan to now read more of his works, especially on the Psalms, a favorite book of the Bible of mine (and Eugene’s!)
    But this week, doing homework for a bible study on Galatians, I had read through Galatians several times as we were asked to do in the study. I decided Tuesday to read The Message version and thanked God that it really helped me to finally understand some things in Galatians I had not. And also, would you believe, it took away some boredom that had set in as I read and re-read Galatians. I did not know that Galatians was the first book of the Bible that he put into his own style of contemporary language. And then ended up, at someone’s incredulous suggestion, to translate the entire bible in that way. Also I did not know that he had passed away the day before his translation of Galatians meant so much to me.
    He now means even more to me from your beautifully written tribute to him. And of course, just as with Eugene Petersen, I know quite well that you also have a far reaching impact on untold numbers of people. And as with Eugene Peterson, you remain humble also. It has to be by Gods Grace!
    May Gods Grace and blessings continue to be with you Philip. You continue to bless us with your writings.

  18. Ndaba Mazabane says:

    Thank you, Philip, for helping us know the man God used in translating the word of Truth in simple and day to day understandable tone and language. His legacy will contnue to enrich and bless us and the generations to come!

  19. Robyn Rochelle Cox says:

    After 39 moves in my 60 years of life I found myself within 1.5 miles from the church planted and watered by Eugene Peterson – grown by God.
    I’ve been a girl, wife, single mom, missionary in Europe and only returned to states a few years ago to marry a Maryland man.

    Unbeknownst to me, this church nestled so near our BlueMoon housed the writer of my most loved yearly read and a life-long mentor (though I never met him)

    What blows me away?
    This little neighborhood that I read about Eugene Peterson praying over, the land so close to his small town church, is filled with believers living life for Jesus.
    There is no doubt in my mind of God’s answering the prayers of that small congregation. Bringing, pastors, missionaries, elders, bible study facilitators, followers of Jesus to this little corner of the world.
    “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
    James 4:16

    I am reaping the benefit of my book mentor Eugene Peterson’s faithfulness.
    May you, Philip Yancey, take courage in this promise.
    Godspeed.
    Robyn Rochelle Cox

  20. Robert McArthur says:

    Thank You

  21. Bonnie says:

    Thank you Philip for this beyond beautiful glimpse of a bigger than life person! God used him in great ways! The Ray Boltz song entitled, “Thank You” comes to mind when I read down thru this eulogy! I have ‘The Message Remix’ Bible and I LOVE IT! I don’t own any other Bible as THIS is the one that God speaks to me thru! What an amazing, God-fearing man! I can’t wait to meet him in Heaven!

  22. charlie curreri says:

    Eugene Petersen was our pastor for over 20 years as an often moving military member. His books profoundly influenced our lives and ministry to others, especially when in remote parts of the world. We are forever grateful for his love of Jesus, humility in service, warm heart, and brilliant intellect.

  23. Josefina Gutierrez says:

    Thank you Phil Yancey for this beautiful tribute as you share insights on the life of another wonderful person, Eugene Peterson. He lived such a low key life but with great impact to millions.

  24. Kenny says:

    Splendid!

  25. Walter Romanenghi says:

    Thanks Mr Yancey.
    You’ve written a beatiful and kind semblance of your friend.
    We will miss him too.

  26. Wayne Hoag says:

    At two critical junctures in my pastoral ministry, I received wise guidance from Eugene Peterson. The first came through some letters that we exchanged, the second, was a very timely word from his book Working the Angles. His most profound influence on my life came from his translation of Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me, watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Thank you, Brother Eugene, for teaching me about the unforced rhythms of grace.

  27. Ray Zoller says:

    A wonderful tribute. Thank you, Philip.

  28. M. Robie says:

    Thank you for sharing a more personal side of Mr. Peterson. His writing, as well as yours, have had a very big impact on my life & have helped tremendously in my spiritual growth.

  29. Diane Glancy says:

    Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints– Psalm 116:15

  30. Jim Magwood says:

    Thank you for the delightful history of a beautiful man and servant of God. Yes, he will be missed.
    Interestingly, Flathead Lake in Montana is where the ranch is of the hero of my last two novels. A beautiful place for a beautiful man.

  31. Susan Richmond says:

    I feel the same hope-filled sadness at Eugene’s passing as I did when Dallas Willard, Bryan Doyle, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Rich Mullins, Brennan Manning and two of my own beloved pastors left our midst. Pastor Peterson forged a clear trail and his written blessings are a roadmap for us. We are most fortunate. Thanks for these further insights into a life well-lived, Mr. Yancey.

  32. Abby Olufeyimi says:

    I teared up a little as I realised that the man, who wrote one of my favourite paraphrase of the Bible was now in heaven. I teared up because reading The Message has in many ways made the Bible more real and accessible to me. And thank you Mr Yancey for your tribute which gave a glimmer into the man, Pastor Eugene .

  33. James Schaap says:

    Thank you, Philip. Once in a Chrysostom discussion about a writer’s place in his or her work, I asked Eugene if he was somewhere in his translations. “Every word,” he said, with that gracious smile. To the many who knew him only by what he wrote, I like to say that I think he was, in the flesh, everything you might well imagine him to be, a comfort and a joy.

  34. Thank you for sharing this with us. We often don’t know who is behind the names we know so well. Rest well!

  35. Scott says:

    I was only recently exposed to Mr. Peterson’s works. How I evaded them for all these years is a mystery and quite a feat when looked upon in hindsight. I’ve been a fan of U2 since just about any of us knew who U2 were, but I never heard of the connection until earlier this year…
    __ __ __ __

    … Your beloved friend chose a path when he decided to take on the incredible work and devotion of translating God’s words into modern language. I am but one of the millions he never knew he met along that path. There are many more who have yet to even realize that they are going to meet him as well. Millions of stories. Millions of lives. Millions of souls.

    Godspeed to him and God bless you for your thoughtful words about this extraordinary and most ordinary man!
    [truncated by assistant]

  36. Lavinia says:

    A beautiful and inspiring memory of someone I never knew. What a loss to our world and religious community. My thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.

  37. Janice Barfield says:

    Thank you, Philip, for this precious sharing of a man so revered in my life. Tears as I read this , remembring with gradutude the insights that he opened for me and so many others. Thank you for sharing your heart, so that we could see his. Janice Barfield

  38. Kristin says:

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful remembrance. I could barely read it through all my tears. He influenced me greatly.

  39. Connie Bartholomew says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts on Eugene Peterson.
    It is so wonderful to see him from your viewpoint. I’m saddened that I was not privileged to know him but will look forward to talking to him some day. I’m sure the line will be very long. I pray often that God will raise up men to replace these wonderful men of God.

  40. Michael Darby says:

    Thanks so much for this beautiful recollection, Philip. Inspiring.

  41. Tom Harrison says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories about Eugene Peterson.

  42. Bob Fryling says:

    Thank you, Philip, for this warm, gentle, humorous and kind rememberance of Eugene. It was just like him. Alice and I too feel we have lost a friend and a pastor and even though at a distance we miss him already.

  43. Faith says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal relationship with Eugene. Your words honor him and are a blessing.

  44. Thank you Mr. Yancey. These were beautiful words of reflection on the beautiful life of Eugene Peterson. He loved Jesus well and in turn we all feel more loved by Jesus. What more could someone ask to produce with their life?
    Thank you.

  45. Ken Heidorn says:

    Philip,
    Thank you for the wonderful picture of Eugene Peterson. He, indeed, was a genuine and special man, touched by the Hand and Love of God.

  46. Glen Plant says:

    People always comment on the (poor) state of my copy of The Message. There is a reason.

  47. Louis Zezza says:

    Dr. Peterson has received his message and now knows What’s So Amazing About Grace !

  48. Thank you for sharing your friendship and this glimpse of the man we have been so tempted to idolize or idealize. It’s hard to unselfishly rejoice for the freedom of a soul that has added so much to our world.

  49. Roger Vorholzer says:

    I have been significantly blessed by his (and your) writings. Thank you for the wonderful eulogy!

  50. Donna Younglove says:

    Thank you for the marvelous tribute to beloved Eugene Peterson. His written works have been a favorite of mine since childhood and always served as a “go to” source. A well written article Philip Yancey and one your friend Eugene Peterson would smile when reading.

  51. Judy Grieve says:

    Thank you Philip. I reposted this because it is worth sharing.

  52. Camille Olcese says:

    That last image is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. I’ll hold it in my heart. Thank you.

  53. Steve Cuss says:

    What a beautiful tribute, thank you, Philip. The passage you reference in “The Pastor” about his elaborate ministry reports is also one of my all time favorite pieces of his writings. What an incredible man.

  54. Judy Smith says:

    Thank you Philip—a wonderful eulogy—my tears are spilling, but my heart soars, picturing this man who touched so many he never would meet but who he inspired so deeply, leaving this earth for eternity.

  55. Always appreciate your blogs, Philip. This tribute to Eugene was particularly meaningful. I never met him, but, like so many, was influenced by him.

  56. Ken r Wiens says:

    A wonderful summary of the life of a humble, godly man! Definitely he was the type of man I’d have loved to have as a friend! His writing, his life story inspire me to be motivated to write. I am 66 yrs old now. I am retired. I just need direction and pray the Lord will use my writing in some humble way to enrich the lives of others.

  57. Judyth White says:

    Beautiful

  58. Tim Panula says:

    Thank you for writing about Eugene Peterson. I hadn’t heard that he died.
    Two of my favorite books on my nook are “Running With The Horses” and “A Long Obedience”, along with most of the books you have written, all which are in my nook or on my bookshelf (or both). I just purchased ” Kingfishers Catch Fire” and am looking forward to another great read.

  59. Jo-Anne Thomas says:

    Thank you, Mr. Yancey. The first time I read “The Message Bible”, I had a revival of sorts: seeing the Word with new eyes and excitement. Eugene Peterson’s writings became part of my life from that first introduction. But, I always suspected there was a twinkle to those eyes, that tempered the serious business of what he’d undertaken. The Christian world will miss his wisdom and contributions, but for you, his family, friends and colleagues, the loss is more personal. May our “God of all comfort” surround you as you walk through this time of sadness. Thank you for sharing.

  60. Marialyce Fordham says:

    What a terrific parting note from a friend about the human side of this spiritual, gentle, thoughtful, humorous, literary giant of a man. Resting now in peace until Jesus’ return.

  61. Marianne Jones says:

    Thank you for this delightful picture of the real Eugene. When I was young, his A Long Obedience in the Same Direction was a huge encouragement to me at a time when I needed it. It inspired me to write a poem with the same title.

  62. Vitaliy says:

    That was very emotional. I might be feeling this way, because my kids are pretty sick in the next room or just because this man Is spectacular. Thank you for sharing this, Philip. I never knew the man, but through this text I could feel him. All the way from Ukraine. )

  63. Cheryl Coy says:

    Thank you for sharing a more intimate portrait of this man. I have turned to “The Message” for years to find clearer understanding of God’s message to us. Petersen’s closeness to God comes through at every turn. I am thankful that he shared his understanding with us!

  64. Andrew Phair says:

    Thank you so much for this. What a great man and disciple

  65. Jody Davison says:

    Lovely tribute to this beloved man, Philip. I found a used copy of the new testament The Message for sale at a library some years back and bought it without realizing it was The Bible. What a surprise and delight to have it dished up freshly in Eugene’s way, full of insight and aplomb to ground me to reality anew. Thanks for the background on this sweet man.

  66. Curt Larsen says:

    Wow. What a wonderful, touching tribute. You knew this saint, not just the statistics. Thank you!

  67. Athena Nawar says:

    Thank you for sharing this remembrance. Another gift to add to his joy filled gifts to us.

  68. Tisa Bearden Chamberlain says:

    Lovely!
    Thank you for sharing an inspiring life.

  69. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful, personal eulogy of Eugene Peterson.

  70. Avenel Grace says:

    Loved you Eugene,
    In this world of fakes and fancies you stood head and shoulders above them all in your humble and loving heart.
    We will all miss you.
    Avenel Grace.
    Adelaide .S.A

  71. Lyndall McCowen says:

    Thank you for your beautiful recollections of time spent with this humble servant of the living God.
    I now feel like I know him even though we lived oceans apart. His laugh. His sense of humour. His devotion to following the call upon his life.

  72. Robin Palmer says:

    Thank you. Just for accuracy mother Theresa died on 5 September. Princess Di 31 August.
    Greatly appreciated your insight. Blessings.

  73. Yisau Jacob says:

    Many thanks for this piece Philip. I never personally knew Eugene Peterson but his ‘The Message’ translation of the Bible remains one of my favorite.
    Rest on in the bosom of your Lord Dear Eugene.

  74. Susan Shadid says:

    Beautifully written Philip. Thank YOU for a glimpse of the man that you know from your relationship with him over the years.

  75. jeannette dawson says:

    What a wonderful heartfelt and moving eulogy.

  76. Greg Denholm says:

    I hadn’t heard. You’ve just broken the news to me. 🙁

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*